I came home from a meeting one day recently to find my four girls in the exact same place I had left them two hours earlier: on the couch, staring blankly at the television. The house was a mess, with dishes piled around them on the end tables and evidence of food preparation in the kitchen. But they? They had turned into zombies, mindlessly shoving food into their mouths as they stared at the pretty lights on the screen.
"New Rule," I bellowed. "No TV unless it is educational!"
Wanting the definition of educational television, I explained that it meant nature shows, biography, history, documentaries, NOVA or National Geographic. No, Arthur does not count. No, Phineas and Ferb does not count. No, even Disney does not count. Those types of television will be allowed on special occasions such as family movie night or when Big Sister is babysitting.
After the general revolt, they began to warm to my new rule. For several days, when there was down time and it felt like like a good time for a show, they learned about volcano's, sharks, whales, and tornadoes. They came to me excited about new information they had learned. Besides having to train my youngest daughter that just because it wasn't animation didn't make it educational, I thought the educational mandate was a huge success . . .
. . . until one day when I discovered that five year old watching this:
It was a proud moment, to be sure. I put a kibosh on it right away, "This is NOT educational!"
"Yes, it is, Mom! They teach you good stuff! They teach how to put on make-up, do little dances, make pretty clothes, fix your hair and all kinds of stuff!"
What, oh, what, am I to do with this one?!